#FridayBookShare: Cutting for Stone

One of my favorite aspects of blogging is the connection and interaction with others. I love finding new blogs that share similar interests. I also love how one site often leads you to other great sites on related topics. Comment sections have provided me with engaging exchanges, provocative ideas, and new/renewed friendships.

Through the Australian blog, Deb’s World, I discovered British author/blogger, Shelley Wilson, and her #FridayBookShare. This link-up provides a simple format (spelling out FRIDAY) that allows bloggers to share what they are reading and offers readers a quick peek at a wide range of books.

I’ve just finished reading Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone and thought that I’d give Shelley’s format a try. Here goes!

First line of the book:

“After eight months spent in the obscurity of our mother’s womb, my brother, Shiva, and I came into the world in the late afternoon of the twentieth of September in the year of grace 1954.” Okay…so there are arguably better lines in this novel, but this one is effective at introducing us to the main character’s unique voice…and chatty style!

Recruit fans by adding the book blurb:

Being a ‘do-it-yourself’ kind of gal, I decided to write my own blurb instead of presenting the one from the book’s jacket (as I believe we were intended to do). If my words below don’t convince you, please check out the blurbs on Amazon or Goodreads. The reviews, although mixed, are predominantly glowing.

Set in India, Ethiopia and inner city New York, this moving tale of twin brothers vividly unfolds its landscapes, histories, and characters with unforgettable humanity and compassion. I became so absorbed in the story that I could taste the injera (spongy Ethiopian bread) and smell the incense that was lit each morning. There are many aphorisms woven throughout the layers of the novel, most notably “The world turns on our every action, and our every omission, whether we know it or not.” I do recommend this book to others, but caution that it can be exhausting at times.

Introduce the main character using only three words:

Narrator, Conjoined, Betrayals

Delightful design (add the cover image of the book):


Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?):

Written in 2009 by an Ethiopian-born medical doctor, by 2012 this fictional novel had been on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years and had sold over one million copies. (Source) As this novel contains numerous stories within stories, including key themes of family, identity, betrayal, suffering, political unrest, medicine, compassion and forgiveness…this book would likely appeal to a wide range of readers. I believe that it is also an excellent choice for many book clubs. I read this novel with one of my book clubs (shout out to Seaside Sirens). Once again the reviews were mixed, but the discussion was very stimulating.

Your favorite line/scene:

Throughout the novel I found myself underlying small sections of text that spoke so meaningfully, and often uncannily, to our current times.

After struggling to find my absolute favorite marked section, I decided to quit torturing myself and narrowed it down to three. Okay, okay…the final quote is really my favorite, but I thought that you would get a better sense of the wisdom of this book if I included additional excerpts.

Favorite Quote #3:
“The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don’t. If you keep saying your slippers aren’t yours, then you’ll die searching, you’ll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more. Not only our actions, but also our omissions, become our destiny.”

Favorite Quote #2: “My VIP patients often regret so many things on their deathbeds. They regret the bitterness they’ll leave in people’s hearts. They realize that no money, no church service, no eulogy, no funeral procession no matter how elaborate can remove the legacy of a mean spirit.”

Favorite Quote #1: “The uneventful day is a precious gift.” What a brilliant reframing of “ordinariness” and a great reminder that our days do not need to be “a nirvana of extraordinary adventure” to be a blessing.

As I finished copying down these quotes, I could hear the television in the other room blare out the non-stop ‘Reality-TV-Syndrome’ of our current times. That made these quotes even more meaningful to me…and made me grateful for this sleepy, snowy February afternoon.

If you’ve read Cutting for Stone, what were your thoughts? Let’s talk!

Why not join in the fun? Use the above format to share your favorite novel. Be sure to add #FridayBookShare. Always in search of a good book, I look forward to reading your review.

26 Replies to “#FridayBookShare: Cutting for Stone”

  1. I also loved that book (although I read it several years ago so have forgotten a lot of the storyline). I often get my books from the library – a great way to save some money and cut down on clutter, but I miss being able to highlight passages that resonate or are so well-written that I don’t want to forget them. “The uneventful day is a precious gift” is definitely one to underline.

    I just finished A Gentleman in Moscow and really recommend it if you haven’t read it already.
    Janis recently posted…Thursday Doors: Tears for QuebecMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Janis. I got my copy of Cutting For Stone at our local thrift store for 99 cents so I felt justified in recklessly underlining (although I did so in pencil)!
      Thanks for the recommendation on A Gentleman in Moscow. I will definitely add it to my reading list!

  2. Thanks for the recommendation – I am going to put this on my list for when I get that break in the seemingly endless cycle of work (admittedly, all self-inflicted). Oh how I miss you here at WAB and envy the time you have to read and blog!

    1. Hi, Madeleine – Thank you so much for stopping by. I miss you too! When are you coming for your (long overdue) visit to Vancouver Island?

    1. Thanks so much for your continuous kind words, Terri. Yes, that quote is my favorite. For just a few words it has a big message.

    1. Hi, Debbie – Thank you again for leading me to Shelley Wilson’s #FridayBookShare. It’s a great format to follow and a wonderful link to glimpses of other great books to read. I look forward to reading more of your reviews.

  3. Oh my gosh. I’ve been thinking for the last few days that I’d love to do book reviews on my blog, but I am absolutely rubbish at writing thoughtful, meaningful reviews. The FRIDAY acronym is brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing, Donna.
    I haven’t read Cutting for Stone but will add it to my list specifically because of Favourite Quote #3.
    Thanks, Donna.

    1. Hi, Karen – I totally support you adding book reviews on your blog. From your other writing, I believe that you would be amazing at writing thoughtful and meaningful reviews. The #FridayBookShare format offers an easy and fun form to follow. I look forward to reading your entries!

    1. Glad it’s on your list. Hope you enjoy it. I am currently reading An African Love Story by Daphne Sheldrick. If you haven’t yet read it, Kate, I think that you would love it!

  4. Great and original review, Donna. Spelling out the word Friday like that makes it interesting, as well as adding your own voice to it all. I love you third quote as well. There have been many days in my past that I wished for an uneventful day. Now, I have too many of those. It’s all about balance! 🙂
    Liesbet recently posted…Monthly Expenses – January 2017My Profile

  5. Thanks, Liesbet – You could read this novel for the amazing quotes alone. Another quote from this book that I love is: “Wasn’t that the definition of home? Not where you are from, but where you are wanted.” Verghese truly leaves the reader with much to ponder.

    1. Thanks, Joanne – I totally agree. Somehow it seems that when I hear the news, ‘meanness’ is the norm more and more. But when I read my daily dose of blogs, warmth and thoughtfulness shine through. Maybe its just the blogs that I follow. Together we have a strong voice!

  6. Ill Jump in here and say that I have not read his book. I have however, read his bioggraphy, which I always encourage folks to read. While he is now a chair of infectious medicine (At southern Cal I think) he was an internest-and did his interneship in a small applachian town in the eighties-just as all the young men who went to New York were coming home ill. His discription of learning to deal with the disease when no one knew anything and how the folks of this town deal with it is stunning. This book is on my shortlist, I just need to put down my David baldachis and open my mind.

    1. Hi, Barb – Thank you for sharing this background. I’m glad that Cutting For Stone is on your shortlist. Verghese’s biography is now on mine! I believe that his life has been fascinating.

  7. Love all the quotes (saw the 4th one also!)…how serendipitous that I used similar language about ordinary days and nirvana in my last blog. No, I did not see this first! I am putting the book on my must read list – it sounds like many life lessons in there.
    patricia recently posted…Learning to LiveMy Profile

    1. Hi, Pat – Yes, we often do seem to be on very similar pages. I had drafted my post and then saw your line, “a nirvana of extraordinary adventure”, and I totally stole it! But I did source it and linked it to your blog! Hope that is okay.
      This book does contain numerous life lessons. Once you read it, please let me know what you think.

  8. I love that fourth quote that you sneaked in. I have not read this book, but it sounds like one I would enjoy. I will keep an eye out for it. Although…. I have a pile of 50-60 unread books awaiting me, and really should not be buying any more right now. So easy to buy books!

    Dr Sock recently posted…Taking StepsMy Profile

    1. Hi, Jude – I do highly recommend this (as a 61st book to await you). Since it was on the best seller list for so long, there were numerous copies available at our local thrift store (I purchase my copy for 99 cents). Glad that you liked the forth quote that I added. Here is a fifth: “Life is like that. You live it forward, but understand it backward.”

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